Many people think these sort of events are not open to them . That they are exclusive and you have to be invited by someone ‘on the list’, but these days nearly all events are accessible. I was lucky enough to be invited to this ball but I discovered that these tickets can be bought through many travel and event Companies either as packages or just the ticket alone. Not too expensive either for a truly magical experience. Unfortunately the carnival was halted for the final two days due to the spread of Coronavirus in Italy.
THE VENICE CARNEVALE
An annual carnival held for two weeks in February ending on shrove Tuesday. It initially began in 1162 but really became official and firmly established as a part of Venetian life in the 17th and 18th centuries but was outlawed in 1797 and really did not return in full force until 1979 ! Elaborate masks and full venetian dress are the order of the day not just for the ball but to parade around St Marks Square. But be prepared to have thousands of photographs taken and your lunch continually interrupted. Now I know how Lady Gaga feels.
THE TIEPOLO BALL
Held at the world famous Palazzo Pisani Moretta this is considered one of the most anticipated events of the carnival. In one of the most beautiful palaces with ceiling frescos and masterpieces adorning the walls. Chandeliers lit by candlelight, grand staircases and situated right on the Grand Canal. Arriving by water taxi to be greeted by handsome footmen adorned in their finery is a memory to be cherished.
Following prosecco and canapes we sit down to a four course meal prepared by a Michelin chef whilst a renaissance quintet play, magicians and opera singers follow. A full entertainment programme throughout dinner. After dinner a Master of Ceramonies leads us through some traditional dances, a word of warning you are seperated from your partner most of the evening as you are required to dance with several partners.
The evening culminates with a chocolate fountain and very naughty pastries, coffee, hot chocolate and copious amounts of prosecco !
Tickets for the Tiepolo ball vary from £500-£750 depending on if you want to be seated in the main hall or side hall. Venetoinside.com or Veniceoperatickets.com. Or you many operators include special packages to the Venice balls . Take a look at the following Companies to tailor yours weekendalacarte.co.uk or Italien-short-breaks.co.uk. Many of the package Companies pre book water taxis and Ateliers for your costumes.
I would totally recommend La Venexiana Atelier, Frezzaria, San Marco 1135. (tel 041/5286888) . We sent our measurements ahead for them to tailor our outfits. I have to say I do think our costumes were the best that we saw. Beware though wigs are £100 extra. They are just for hire but at least you don’t have to pay excess baggage to get them home. Although I have just checked on Amazon and they do have stunning Venetian Ballgowns for £30! So this works too. Although this was part of the special experience visiting the Atelier by the Rialto Bridge with lots of Italien seamstresses fussing over you.
Definately buy your ornate masks whilst in Venice. Usually handmade in Venice and beautiful masks from 20 euros are a lovely keepsake. Although I went all out with a Swarovski crystal mask for 180 euros…….I got carried away ! The ‘bodyguard’ went for a large beaked mask which seemed to have a rather exciting effect on all the ladeeeez !
FLIGHTS AND HOTELS
Easyjet and BA flights start at a very reasonable £45 round trip for a 2 hour flight. Prices are excellent at this time of year and do not seem to get hiked up like other festivals. But bear in mind if you are not on a package a private water taxi transfer can be about 150 euros. Although the vaporetti is cheaper at 15 euros but instead of 20 mins will take twice as long.
Travelling around venice on the vaporetti is cheap 7.50 euros for a single trip one direction (valid for 75 minutes) .
There are hotels to suit ANY budget in Venice and hundred to choose from. There are the big grand ones like The Cipriani and The Gritti Palace. Medium level The Danieli and The Monaco. But even the smaller ones on the canal can give you more of a traditional Italien flavour with Gondoliers passing by the window singing. This one is over to you and your own personal taste and budget. Stay close to St Marks Square/Rialto Bridge, if it is your first visit . Easy to get lost in the winding back streets of venice.
THINGS TO DO
If you are staying longer some places I love in Venice:
- Morning coffee and croissants at The Florian in St Marks Square
- Guggenheim Museum (vaporetti stop ‘Salute”) view the Jackson Pollock collection.
- La Terrazza Restaurant by the Rialto
- A gondolier ride (approx 80 euros for 30 mins). More expensive at night.
- A Bellini at Harrys Bar
- A Rossini at The Gritti Palace made with fresh strawberries.
- Lunch at Hotel Monaco
- People watching at The Londres on the terrace.
- St Marks Basilica for culture but pre book skip the line tickets.
- Get away from the crowds for a romantic meal and great pasta cross to the other side of the canal (Salute stop) . Ristorante Cantinone Storico is my secret place sssssshhhhh dont tell anyone ……please.
- Oh and at Carnevale time PARADE PARADE PARADE ! Such fun to be immersed in the whole experience.
So get planning Stylistas for 2021 for one of the most stylish events of the year. YOU SHALL GO TO THE BALL CINDERS. Have fun !
JOJOS STYLELIST TIP: I HAVE VISITED VENICE SEVERAL TIMES BUT I HAVE TO SAY I ENJOY IT FAR MORE IN THE WINTER MONTHS THAN THE SUMMER WHEN IT IS AT ITS MIST HAUNTING AND ROMANTIC……AND LESS CROWDED. BEAUTIFUL SUNNY CRISP WINTER DAYS.